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he met with some difficulties in it that he did not expect.
I was not displeased with the news that his process was more tedious than he expected ; for though I was in no condition to have had him yet, not being so foolish to marry him when I knew myself to be with child by another man, as some I know have ventured to do, yet I was not willing to lose him, and, in a word, resolved to have him, if he continued in the same mind, as soon as I was up again; for I saw apparently I should hear no more from my other husband; and as he had all along pressed me to marry, and had assured me he would not be at all disgusted at it, or ever offer to claim me again, so I made no scruple to resolve to do it if I could, and if my other friend stood to his bargain ; and I had a great deal of reason to be assured that he would, by the letters he wrote to me, which were the kindest and most obliging that could be.
I now grew big, and the people where I lodged perceived it, and began to take notice of it to me, and as far as civility would allow, intimated that I must think of removing. This put me to extreme perplexity, and I grew very melancholy, for indeed I knew not what course to take ; I had money, but no friends, and was like now to have a child upon my hands to keep, which was a difficulty I had never had upon me yet, as my story hitherto makes appear.
In the course of this affair I fell very ill, and my melancholy really increased my distemper. My illness proved at length to be only an ague, but my apprehensions were really that I should miscarry. I should not say apprehensions, for indeed I would have been glad to miscarry, but I could never entertain so much as a thought of taking anything to make me miscarry ; I abhorred, I say, so much as the thought of it.
However, speaking of it, the gentlewoman who kept the house proposed to me to send for a midwife. I scrupled it at first, but after some time consented, but told her I had no acquaintance with any midwife, and so left it to her.
It seems the mistress of the house was not so great a stranger to such cases as mine was as I thought at first she had been, as will appear presently; and she sent for a midwife of the right sort that is to say, the right sort for me.
The woman appeared to be an experienced woman in her business, I mean as a midwife; but she had another calling too, in which she was as expert as most women, if not more. My landlady had told her I was very melancholy, and that she believed that had done me harm; and once, before me, said to her, “ Mrs. B-, I believe this lady's trouble is of a kind that is pretty much in your way, and therefore if you can do anything for her, pray do, for she is a very civil gentlewoman ;” and so she went out of the room.
I really did not understand her, but my Mother Midnight began very seriously to explain what she meant, as soon as she was gone.
“ Madam," says she, “ you seem not to understand what your landlady means ; and when you do, you need not let her know at all that you do so.
“She means that you are under some circumstances that may render your lying in difficult to you, and that you are not willing to be exposed. I need say no more, but to tell you, that if you think fit to communicate so much of your case to me as is necessary, for I do not desire to pry into those things, I perhaps may be in a condition to assist you, and to make
dull thoughts upon that subject.”
Every word this creature said was a cordial to me, and put new life and new spirit into my very heart; my blood began to circulate immediately, and I was quite another body; I ate my victuals again, and grew better presently after it. She said a great deal more to the same purpose, and then having pressed me to be free with her, and promised in the solemnest manner to be secret, she stopped a little, as if waiting to see what impression it made on me, and what I would say. I was too sensible of the want I was in of such a woman not to accept her offer ; I told her my case was partly as she guessed, and partly not, for I was really married, and had a husband, though he was so remote at that time as that he could not appear publicly.
She took me short, and told me that was none of her business ; all the ladies that came under her care were married women to her. • Every woman,” says she, “ that is with child has a father for it," and whether that father was a husband or no husband was no business of hers ; her business was to assist me in my present circumstances, whether I had a · husband or no; “ for, madam,” says she, “to have a husband that cannot appear is to have no husband, and therefore whether you are a wife or a mistress is all one to me.”
I found presently, that whether I was a whore or a wife, I was to pass for a whore here, so I let that go. I told her it was true, as she said, but that, however, if I must tell her my case, I must tell it her as it was ; so I related it as short as I could, and I concluded it to her. “I trouble you with this, madam,” said I, “not that, as you said before, it is much to the purpose in your affair ; but this is to the purpose, namely, that I am not in any pain about being seen, or being concealed, for 't is perfectly indifferent to me; but my difficulty is, that I have no acquaintance in this part of the nation.”
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she; “ you
“ I understand you, madam,” says she ; no security to bring to prevent the parish impertinences usual in such cases, and perhaps,” says she, “ do not know very well how to dispose of the child when it comes.” “The last,” says I, “is not so much my concern as the first." “Well, madam, answers the midwife, “dare you put yourself into my hands ? I live in such a place; though I do not inquire after you, you may inquire after me. My name is B-; I live in such a street” naming the street — “at the sign of the cradle. My profession is a midwife, and I have many ladies that come to my house to lie in. I have given security to the parish in general to secure them from any charge from what shall come into the world under my roof. I have but one question to ask in the whole affair, madam,” says she, “and if that be answered, you shall be entirely easy of the rest.”
I presently understood what she meant, and told her, “ Madam, I believe I understand you. I thank God, though I want friends in this part of the world, I do not want money, so far as may be necessary, though I do not abound in that neither :” tnis I added, because I would not make her expect great things. “Well, madam," says she, “ that is the thing, indeed, without which nothing can be done in these cases ; and yet,” says she, “you shall see that